Stray lions kill livestock in Gutu

MASVINGO - Villagers in Bikita and Gutu are living in fear after a pride of five lions strayed from Chiredzi River Conservancy.

The lions have devoured over 50 cattle over the past two weeks. Felix Chikovo, Masvingo provincial administrator, said government was contemplating evacuation of the lions from the conservancies to Gonarezhou National Park.

“Yes we are aware of the lions that went astray and destroyed domestic animals belonging to villagers who live in nearby villages,” Chikovo told the Daily News.

“The lions are coming from Chiredzi River conservancies because the area has new settlers who are now occupying 94 percent of the land which the lions used to stay.”

He said the Parks and Wildlife Department  was frantically trying to evacuate the lions from the conservancies to the national park adding that the lions now posed a danger as his office received reports last week that some toddlers in Gutu were seen chasing after some of the lions thinking that they were dogs.

Villagers told the Daily News they were now afraid for their lives and children as the lions could end up turning on them after finishing off their cattle and other domestic animals.

“The lions ate my four beasts and I was left with nothing,” said Vurayayi Makusha from Chivaka village in Gutu’s Devure Valley.

“I used the cattle as my draught power and I am hopeless as to how I will plough my fields this coming agricultural season.
“However, besides the issue of losing my cattle we are as villagers fearing for our lives especially our children who go to school everyday past the bush for some kilometres.”

Villagers blamed the new farmers for the consistent straying of the lions saying they were failing to manage the farms that require a lot of technical knowledge to manage.

Comments (1)

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Vada - 17 September 2013

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